A Lancashire scriptwriter's work has been produced as a new short film for the BBC.
MY JIHAD is part of the Original Drama Shorts scheme, and is a joint collaboration between BBC Drama, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.
It stars Hamza Jeetooa, Anjli Mohindra (Sarah Jane Adventures) and Mandeep Dhillon (Some Girls).
Writer Shakeel Ahmed will be speaking about his work at a special event hosted by ‘Inspiring Grace’.
Almost a year ago, 28 writers from across the UK were invited to a workshop to launch the scheme. Subsequently, all the writers were asked to submit a one-page pitch for a short film.
Of those 10 were selected to go through to script, and then 3 of those were selected to be produced.
The film is about Nazir and his visit to an Islamic speed-dating evening. But all he finds are women keen to know how he'd support a wife financially and, as Nazir isn't able to support himself financially, it's all a little disastrous.
It's even worse when Fahmida, chaperoning her friend Yasmin, insults Nazir for his fecklessness. Nazir leaves, but when he boards the bus home he finds he hasn't got the bus fare and, spotting Fahmida, begs her for the money. To stop the embarrassment of Nazir holding everyone up, she gives him the fare.
Shakeel said, “It is very surreal to witness a team of trained professionals bringing your writing to life. Everybody, from the performers, through the technicians, to the producers and the director, Al Mackay, put an incredible amount of dedication into their craft that was quite humbling to see.”
“The response to the film across all age-groups, cultures and faiths has been extremely positive.”
He added, “Words are powerful. Words can maim but also mend. Words can harm but also heal.
“We reveal an immense amount of ourselves through our speech; the words that we use, and those that we choose not to use; our tones, pitch, rhythms, cadences; even the gaps between our words tell the listener something about us.
“To converse is to connect. With society becoming ever more splintered and the Facebook-Twitter generation experiencing life more and more through a virtual prism, there was something incredibly exciting and immensely old-fashioned in writing a story that simply had two people engaging in an earnest face-to-face conversation.
“Of course, I couldn’t guarantee that anyone else agreed with me. There was always the possibility that my idea would get laughed away and tossed onto the rubbish heap. But this was the story I wanted to tell. It was the story I HAD to tell. And this may be the greatest lesson I can take away from the process.”
Hilary Salmon, Senior Executive Producer at BBC Drama said, “Finding opportunities to work with new writers especially those with a strong or distinctive voice is one of our biggest challenges in Drama.”
Nelson-based community-outreach organisation ‘Inspiring Grace’ will be hosting a free public screening of the short film, where Shakeel Ahmed will deliver a presentation on ‘Scriptwriting through the Islamic Prism’ before accepting questions from the audience, at the ACE Centre at 7pm on Monday 31st March 2014.
The short film can be viewed here: